Friday, April 21, 2017

The Rest Is History


FRANKENSTEIN-1931-Of course all serious horror fans know about Universal's follow up to DRACULA and how they wanted Lugosi to play the lead. Here's some quotes:



“He's resting. Just waiting for new life to come”.

“We must find another brain”

“One man crazy. 3 very sane spectators”.


“In the name of God, now I know what it's like to be God”.  




Watch it tonight!!!
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Saturday, March 25, 2017

1950's Horror

TARANTULA-1955-This begins with a mutated guy in his pajamas dying in the desert. Later the corpse is examined by Dr. Matt Hastings (John Agar) and the aloof professor Deemer (Leo G. Carroll) who says the cause of death was “agromeglia” but Hastings isn't buying it. Turns out the professor is experimenting with an isotope that can enlarge animals. When Deemer is attacked by another mutant his lab burns down and an experimental tarantula escapes. The mutant dies but not before injecting the professor with the isotope. Deemer's new intern “Stevie” Clayton (Mara Corday) winds up taking care of him when he starts to mutate. The giant arachnid dogs their trail but eventually starts eating cattle and people. Hastings, the sheriff (Nestor Paiva) and a newspaper publisher (Ross Elliot) can't fight it. When the spider knocks out phone lines and terrorizes Deemer and Stevie, Hastings uses dynamite but that fails to do any good. It's up to the Air Force (lead by Clint Eastwood) to get rid of it. Hank Patterson is a hotel clerk and Raymind Bailey is another scientist. 

Jack Arnold directed this fast paced low budget horror sci-fi story with great (for the time) special effects the same year as REVENGE OF THE CREATURE (also with Agar). 

REVENGE's screenwriter Martin Berkeley co-wrote TARANTULA but was soon after blacklisted. Lead actress Mara Corday (still alive at the time of this review) was in another Jack Arnold outing THE MAN FROM BITTER CREEK the same year. Leo G. Carroll's popular sit-com TOPPER ended the year he played the the deformed Prof. Deemer.  

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sinful


YELLOW CARGO-1936-Narcotics agent Alan O'Connor (Conrad Nagel) is hired to investigate the smuggling of illegal Chinese immigrants on the East Coast. A female reporter Bobbie Reynolds (Elenor Hunt), described as a “goofy dame” and her clumsy photographer Speedy (Vince Barnett) are investigating a movie studio (Globe Productions) which is just a front for the illegal alien trade run by Brace (director Crane Wilbur) and Pirelli (Jack LaRue). O'Connor pretends to be Chinese for a while and Bobbie is kidnapped. Low budget quickie with lines like “Drop them sticks and stick 'em up or I'll let ya have it”. 

The movie is also known by the less offensive title: SINFUL CARGO.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

More like The Dulling



THE CULLING-2015-Pot smoking Louisiana slackers on their way to a concert meet a mysterious blond haired little girl (Harley Graham) who they decide to drive home. When they get to her house nobody is there but when the parents return they invite the group to hang out, do dope and drink (apparently the concert wasn't that important...??) while the parents tell the story of how their daycare center burnt down. After the father has to take the mother to the hospital, the group stay to watch the girl. Weird things happen and people are killed. It seems the father is creating an army of evil children for a demon. The lone survivor sets the father on fire and a demon appears. She escapes but the little girl is in the back of her pick up. 

Writer/director Rustam Branaman also acted in a lot of films (hopefully he will continue doing that instead of..well you know....)

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Frankenhooker


FRANKENHOOKER-1990-In NJ an overweight girl named Elizabeth (former Penthouse Playmate Patty Mullen) is killed by an electric mower. Her fiance' Jeffery (James Lorinz) who works for the electric company and dabbles in science experiments becomes obsessed with trying to recreate her. He keeps her severed head in a vat of boiling chemicals and at night puts the head on the table and has dinner with it (and reads it poetry) in his garage/lab in the house where he lives with his mother (Louise Lasser). When he gets tense he uses an electric drill on his brain. Like in THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE, Jeffery needs a new body for his beloved so he hires some hookers (with a cliche pimp named Zorro) to find a bod that will fit Elizabeth. But when they ingest some crack like drug Jeffery has brought along they all explode and there are bloody body parts everywhere. Jeffery takes all the body parts back to his lab and stitches them together for a new body and brings it to life with electricity (and a serum that only works on women). What he gets is a scarred white faced hooker/zombie who escapes and hits the street. Her first customer/victim is a short bald comical white guy who explodes (and his decapitated head talks). Jeff eventually brings Elizabeth back to life but she doesn't like it. Zorro follows Jeffery home and decapitates him but the left over hooker parts kill Zorro. Somehow Elizabeth manages to save Jeffery by putting his head on a woman's body. He's not happy about that. Zacherley (the voice Aylmer in the director's BRAIN DAMAGE) appears briefly as a TV weatherman and Shirley Stoler from THE HONEYMOON KILLERS, is a bartender.

This is another bizarre unique horror outing from director Frank Henenlotter (BASKETCASE). It's gory but very clever and funny and you'll never see a better “hookers exploding while using crack” scene anywhere!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Hustle in the Seventies


THE MONKEY HUSTLE-1976-Big Daddy Fox (Yaphet Kotto) is a hustler/con man/thief in Philly. He recruits/corrupts some street kids. All the characters talk jive and only think about money. Fox's girlfriend runs the local restaurant. Caught in the middle is Win (Randy Brooks) the older brother of one of Fox's young “students”. A side plot concerns the local community protesting the bulldozing of the neighborhood. Later Fox teams up with local con man Glitterin' Goldie (the always outrageously dressed Rudy Ray Moore) to stop the construction. 

This too hip for itself “blaxploitation” film was directed by Arthur Marks (not Groucho's son) but it's not nearly as entertaining as his previous outing J. D.'S REVENGE. 

Thanks for reading! 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Simon

SIMON-1980-Some brilliant but twisted geniuses (including Max Wright, William Finley and Wallace Shawn) manipulate the USA fixing TV ratings, creating diseases, doing bizarre research on cross breeding a man with a cockroach and talking about a Nixon substitute who came back from China. They get a lot of info from a computer named Doris (the voice of Louise Lasser) and are kind of like forerunners of modern day computer hackers. They decide to create “an alien” using eccentric college professor Simon Mendolssohn (Alan Arkin) as their guinea pig. Through drugs and a sensory deprivation tank and the help of a phony female doctor (Madeline Kahn) they manage to change him. After he becomes a media sensation with his ego driven demands for making a better world, the group try to destroy him but only wind up losing their intellect to a gas that makes them dumb, dispensed by an Army general (Fred Gwynne). Dr. Becker (Austin Pendleton) the head of the institute wants to kill Simon but he winds up trapped on a rocket-ship headed into space! Simon and his wife (Judy Graubart) run away and are taken in by a religious cult that worships TV. He starts his own pirate network and delivers a crazy philosophy (He's right about many things!). 

This is a great but overlooked black comedy criticizing TV and the obsession with junk culture co-written and directed by Marshall Brickman, a former head writer of THE TONIGHT SHOW who wrote several Woody Allen films (SLEEPER, ANNIE HALL, MANHATTAN) . Dick Cavett and David Susskind play themselves.

Thanks for reading!